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Life of a Law Student, University of Houston Law Center

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Arthur Miller and Scalia Spar in Oral Argument before Supreme Court

If you’re like me the sonorous northern twang of Arthur Miller’s Brooklyn accent (from the CivPro Sum and Substance series) is burned into my brain. For that reason, this brief exchange, from Miller’s oral argument before SCOTUS in Tellabs v. Makor seemed particularly hilarious.

Scalia clearly was on the side of the companies, chiming in from time to time to make Miller’s difficult task a bit harder.

After one remark, Miller let loose: “Is that because you never met a plaintiff you really liked?”

Lawyers who argue at the Court are advised to devote their precious time to serious matters because jokes often fall flat.

But this one didn’t. There was laughter and an “ooh” from spectators. Justices Stephen Breyer and Clarence Thomas laughed for several seconds, even after arguments resumed.

Granted this would not be particularly funny in any other context, but it is the Supreme Court and it is Scalia and I’m willing to wager this moment gratified the latent desires of many of many less forthright advocates to appear before the court.

Law.com: Scalia and Harvard Law Professor Trade Barbs in Court

Nothing up yet, but it might be worth checking back in the not too distant future to see if the audio of the oral argument pops up on Oyez.org.

Oyez.org: Tellabs Inc. v. Makor Issues & Rights

Note to self, probably not something to try out in the moot court competition this weekend…

Advice for Lawyers preparing Oral Arguments from Chief Judge Paul Michel of U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

Chief Judge Paul Michel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC)

UVA: Michel Explains Role of Federal Circuit, Offers Advice to Students, via Bashman.

“Judges are going to ask a lot of questions, particularly appellate judges …and they actually expect answers, and they need answers, and they want answers, and lawyers who don’t answer the question, which is the large majority [of lawyers], lose points, because what it tells me is there is no good answer—your case is indefensible,” Michel said.

“What you need to do is come and deliver crisp, responsive, clear, coherent, candid answers to questions…that any good lawyer can anticipate will be asked by anyone who has to make a decision.”

Oral argument offers judges one last chance to learn before they have to render an opinion on the case.

“When we beat up on lawyers, seemingly, it’s not to give them a hard time or embarrass them, it’s because we are desperate to make sure that we don’t make a mistake, that we really understand the case, that we didn’t get some fact wrong or misunderstand some portion of an argument.”

Texas Supreme Court to feature Webcast of Oral Argument March 20th

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From the Texas Appellate Law Blog we learn that Live Supreme Court Webcasts Begin March 20. This comes at a good time for those of us at UH preparing for the competitive rounds of the John Black Moot Court competition. I’ve been trawling the web for oral argument resources. The best so far – video of oral argument from the Supreme Court of Ohio and Oyez.org. On the 20th-

In a joint project, the Supreme Court of Texas and St. Mary’s University School of Law will begin live Internet video streaming of the Court’s oral arguments March 20.

“This represents not only a great service to lawyers around Texas, but an educational opportunity for law students, colleges, high schools and the public at large,” said Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson. “Broadcasting these arguments over the Web will enable anyone, anywhere to see how an appellate court grapples with some of the toughest legal issues our state confronts.”

Apparently Your Moot Court Days Don’t End in Law School

1Ls at the University of Houston Law Center recently endured had the pleasure of participating in the mandatory rounds of the John Black Moot Court competition. For the uninitiated, Moot Court is the fantasyland of the appellate process, whereas Mock Trial is where we go to get our Perry Mason on. To whatever future bright-eyed advocate this nugget of experience may find its way to…. it, um…. ‘helps’ to know what side you’re on.

Via Howard Bashman’s doubly-punny How Appealing, we learn that our moot court days don’t have to end in law school – Before Going Live at Supreme Court, Lawyers Refine on Moot Court Circuit

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